Some of you may be aware of such a thing called a ‘Raspberry Pi’. For those who are not, the ‘Pi’ is a small computer designed as an entry into programming. The current generation has a 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU, 1Gb ram, Wifi, Blutooth, ethernet, HDMI, four USB 2.0 ports and uses Micro SD cards for storage. Not bad for just €40. The Raspberry Pi does have an OS that can be downloaded – Rasbian which is based on Linux. There are many other OS and stand-alone packages that can be installed such as media centres.
After extensive research I decided to install OSMC, a free, stand-alone media player written for the Pi.
Baking my Pi
- Raspberry Pi 3 (additionally I bought a protective case for mine)
- Micro USB power supply
- 2Gb Micro SD card
- USB Keyboard
- USB Mouse
- HDMI cable (connected to living room TV)
- OSMC ISO Image
- Win32 Disk Imager (freeware)
- Laptop running Windows 8.1 (with micro SD Card reader)
- Using the laptop running Win32 Disk Imager, copy the OSMC ISO image to the SD card.
- Remove the SD card from the PC and insert into the Pi.
- Plug in all the connectors (keyboard, mouse, HMDI) to the Pi.
- Switch on, sit back and prepare for media streaming.
Feeling deflated like a bad Soufflé
The Pi booted fine. After some auto-configuration I was taken to the manual set-up for OSCM. This allowed the configuration of the Wireless network and appearance. Then came the issues. In anticipation I’d created a ‘homegroup’ on the PC and shared the folders containing media I wished to stream. Try as I might, I could not get the Pi to read those folders. Infuriatingly, it could ‘see’ the laptop, but not the shared folders.
- Large vocabulary of predominantly four-letter expletives
After more extensive research, a lot of ‘trial and error’ and probably too much swearing I learned that my mistake was creating the homegroup. So I switched this off and removed all the shares created. Then I reshared the folders I needed to ‘Everyone’ (read only access). In Windows 8.1 this has two steps. First I had to ‘right-click’ the folder and select Share with -> Specific people; select everyone and hit ‘share’. Then I had to ‘right-click’ select properties -> sharing tab -> Advanced sharing and again select everyone and share.
With baited breath I fired up the Pi and lo! I could now add all the shared folders as a file location in OSCM and stream the media wirelessly. Additionally there is an app for Android called ‘Yatse’ that allows me to control OSMC from my phone – browsing files, playing them etc. I also managed to successfully share from a hard drive connected directly to the router (NAS) removing the need for the laptop to be on to stream media. All in all a success only marred by Windows 8.1’s odd networking configurations.
The Raspberry Pi is neat piece of kit and highly versatile – do a Google search and you’ll see people have made Cloud servers, weather stations even a Pi-powered microwave! For me, my next project will be using RetroPi to create a Mame cabinet so I can play old arcade games with proper arcade sticks and buttons.
Written by Simon Lawrence